Fish dumping must be banned to protect stocks, EU chief rules

A A A

The practice by European fishermen of throwing away large amounts of the fish they catch must end, the European Commission said yesterday, in outlining radical proposals to shake up Europe's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

Click HERE to view graphic (151k jpg)

The controversial dumping of "discards", fish that have been caught but are too small or too uncommercial to be landed, must be stopped, and all fish caught will have to be brought to port, said the EU Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki.

She was announcing a series of measures designed to restore the health of Europe's overexploited fish stocks and give struggling fishermen a secure economic future.

Mrs Damanaki's proposals, centring on the aim of bringing all stocks back to "sustainable" levels by 2015, seek to repair a CFP which has brought both the fishing industry and the Euro- pean marine environment to a crisis.

At least 70 per cent of Europe's fish stocks are now fully or over-exploited – a far higher figure than in other parts of the world such as Australia or the US – and without radical action, it is estimated that the figure will exceed 90 per cent in ten years' time.

Mrs Damanaki's proposals include the adoption of an "ecosystem approach" to fisheries management which will stop them being seen in isolation from other issues, such as the development of marine-protected areas or the construction of offshore wind farms.

The proposals also include targets and timeframes to stop overfishing, improved data collection, and mandatory labelling schemes, so that customers can get better information on the fish they buy.

But it is the proposal to end the practice of discards – where half the fish netted can be thrown back into the sea – that is the most immediately eye-catching, not least because it has been the subject of a campaign in Britain by the celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, whose online Fish Fight petition, describing discards as "an insane waste", now has 700,000 supporters.

Mr Fearnley- Whittingstall said yesterday: "It's not perfect but it's a brave step in the right direction and we should applaud Commissioner Damanaki for ensuring discards are on the agenda."

Britain's fisheries minister Richard Benyon said the plans were a "vital first step" in reviving the state of Europe's fisheries. "The current CFP has failed," he said. "Only genuine fundamental reform of this broken policy can turn around these failures."

Environmental campaigners gave the proposals a mixed and cautious welcome, saying that they did not go far enough, and could easily be blocked by European politicians.

Dr Euan Dunn, head of marine policy for the RSPB, said that the aim of restoring stocks by 2015 was "a really important development."

But he added: "There are certainly powerful forces at work who want to keep business as usual."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company has over 40 years ...

Recruitment Genius: Weekend Factory Operatives

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This high quality thread manufacturer is curr...

Recruitment Genius: FP&A Analyst

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A market leading acquirer and m...

Recruitment Genius: Electricians

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fully qualified electricians re...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific